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Christmas Music

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > The Arts, Books, Entertainment, & Media > Christmas Music



Christmas Carol CD

December 2008

I want to buy a nice CD of traditional Christmas Carols - sung nicely by professional musicians. There are a million carol CD's when you go to the store and I don't know how to choose. Last year I gambled, choosing one that had a big selection of traditional songs, and it was horrible. It was like someone had gotten their own 8-year old and all her friends together to sing carols and recorded them. Now that's great, if you want to record your own CD for at home, but I want to hear professional singers, singing with beautiful voices when I buy a CD. You know, like the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields - really nice singing. So, if anyone has suggestions for a good CD, I would love to hear them. Thanks.


I've just let myself listen to my favourite christmas CD - well it is December after all - and I'm very happy to share. Its called ''NOEL, Christmas at Kings'' and is a recording of the Kings College Choir from Cambridge, England. For me this IS christmas, and I'm not particularly religiously orientated. Kings College Choir is renound in the UK and beyond, and sings in the Christmas Eve service that is broadcast accross the Uk every year. There are many recordings by the Kings choir - and any of them will be spectacular, so don;t limit yourself to this one! Enjoy! Traditional Christmas Carol-er
Oprah is offering a free one - downloadable mp3's. The songs are all quite good. http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20081118_tows_holiday/2 C
If you can see the link - here is one (Theatre of Voices, a Paul Hillier ensemble). There are two volumes of ''Carols from the Old & New Worlds'' I accidentally bought these at Amoeba and have loved, loved, loved them for many years now. .

The group is exceptional (some shape note singing is done -- so it is unusual as well). You won't hear more tired renditions of Silent Night and Carol of the Bells....What you will hear are traditional carols and less obvious carols arranged thoughtfully (for acapella) Cherry Tree, There is no Rose, Hark the Herald Angels....

You can sample it on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Carols-Old-New-Worlds/dp/B0000007DK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1228188730&sr=8-3 nancy


The San Francisco Girls Chorus has a beautiful Christmas CD. You can buy it on their website www.sfgirlschorus.org Loves Christmas Music too
Gosh, music quality is such a subjective thing. However, I have a pretty large collection of Xmas CDs all of which I feel display professional musicianship and great voices. Here are a few of my favorites:
*The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis*
*Bing Crosby White Christmas*
*Merry from Lena [Horne]*
*Dianne Reeves Christmas Time is Here*
*James Taylor at Christmas*
*Stevie Wonder Someday at Christmas*
*Tony Bennett The Christams Album Snowfall*
*Mariah Carey Merry Christams*
*Whitney Houston One Wish the Holiday Album*
*The Andy Williams Christmas Album*
anon
My daughter and I listen to the '50s and '60s classics: Ella, Frank, Nat, etc., but our all-time favorite is Harry Belafonte's ''Christmas.'' He performs both traditional and contemporary carols, with a certain emphasis on Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as a real family that I think makes it particularly good listening for children. The back-up chorus doesn't really add to things, but Harry himself is wonderful; even an atheist like me weeps when he sings ''The Gifts They Gave.'' Highly recommended. Melanie

Favorite album of Christmas carols?

November 2005

Does anyone have a favorite album of Christmas carols to recommend? I have several CDs of secular Christmas songs but realized last year that I don't have any with the traditional religious music. Thanks. Sarah


Don't have our holiday music out yet, but the cd I love best is ''December'' by George Winston. Gorgeous piano music, some secular, some religious. We listen to it every night of the month--no exaggeration--perfect for after kids are in bed or to help them unwind, too. can't wait for ''December''!
This is really cheesy to admit, but the Time Life classic Christmas CD set is terrific fun. There are a few I could live without, but the variety of voices and styles make it interesting. We originally ordered off an infomercial (!!) but I think Time-Life has a website. Merry merry! anonymous caroler
Hi Sarah - I can hardly believe I'm about to say this, but I was actually really pleasantly surprised by Clay Aiken's (American Idol) Christmas CD last year. It's called ''Merry Christmas With Love'' and about 1/2 the songs are not secular. He has a beautiful voice and it's not overblown. a surprise Clay Aiken fan
I particularly like the two Christmas CDs done by the San Francisco Girls Chorus (website: http://www.sfgirlschorus.org/tickets/cd_library.html). The chorus has a gorgeous sound, and the songs they recorded aren't ''Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'' type things, but traditional Christmas carols and Christmas religious music. Enjoy! SFGC fan
My all-time favorite Christmas carols came from a long-defunct department store, but of those that are still available (and are on CD): Johnny Mathis Christmas!!! His rendition of Oh Holy Night has sent chills up my spine since I first heard it as a kid. Joan Baez also has a christmas carol CD with some truly haunting songs. Beyond that, I'd have to say that the old-time crooner collections (which you can even get at places like Costco) are pretty good. Johnny Mathis & Joan Baez are best heard start to finish (or maybe this is because I have such strong childhood memories), but the crooner collections can go on random. janet
Chanticleer's ''Sing We Christmas''--Gorgeous a capella music from an SF group (the only full-time professional choir in the U.S., supposedly!). All 5-star ratings on Amazon, and justifiably so. music lover
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